QConLondon 2012 tutorial on Cloud Architecture


Image representing Netflix as depicted in Crun... QCon London 2012 has started for me with an excellent tutorial on cloud architecture by Adrian Cockcroft. The selection of the presenter could hardly be any better, since Adrian is a director of architecture for the Cloud Systems team at Netflix and Netflix is a prime example of a company successfully utilizing the cloud computing for its benefit. Actually, the tutorial turned out to be two tutorials for the price of one. Instead of getting just a first-hand experience with (predominately Amazon) cloud, we also got an extensive tutorial on how Netflix uses Apache Cassandra (a very dear and useful subject to me).

One interesting take that I got out of this tutorial is why Netflix so wholeheartedly embraced cloud computing in general and Amazon Web Services (AWS) in particular, even though they could continue to afford their own datacenters and are now actually competing with Amazon in the field of movie distribution. In most big companies, CEOs are the ones who are very careful about transition to the cloud. But in Netflix's case the CEO was actually the one evangelizing the cloud to the non-believers. Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix was originally a software engineer, as were many other senior managers at Netflix. As Adrian explained, Netflix is pretty much a company run by software engineers. Adoption of the cloud computing seems to be very much dependent on internal relations between developers and operations people. If Operations people, with their traditional reliance on hardware and software vendors, have the upper hand in the company, than transition to the cloud might be quite slow. But if the developers run the show, than the cloud looks like a very elegant way how to get rid of the annoying operations people.